"I’m working towards long-term goals"
Published: 23 Feb 2016
Name: Sam Fraser
Job Title: Graduate design engineer
Works at: Neptune
Qualifications: Masters in mechanical and offshore engineering
WHAT DOES YOUR JOB INVOLVE?
At Neptune, I’m part of its subsea engineering team which specialises in the design of bespoke solutions for our clients in the oil and gas, marine and renewable energy industries.
Day-to-day activities are varied with my main role focused on producing a range of conceptual designs which are completely tailored to any client’s specific requirements; it’s very rare I work on two items that are completely the same.
The use of software is integral to my job with all my designs produced using intricate 3D CAD packages. Designs are also run through various evaluation packages to ensure they are fit for purpose.
I work as part of a close-knit team which is of great benefit for sharing ideas and asking for advice and feedback at certain stages of the design process.
WHAT IS YOUR JOB’S BIGGEST CHALLENGE?
My time at university, without a doubt, has given me a good grounding for working within the engineering sector. I also worked with Neptune prior to completing my studies for three summers which gave me a fantastic insight into the offshore industry along with first-hand experience of the entire design process.
With this in mind, my job’s main challenge is applying what I’ve learnt so far. The offshore industry is incredibly technical with a number of different standards to take into consideration when designing a solution; as you can imagine, there is a lot to think about when an initial design idea begins to come to fruition. There is no substitute for experience, however, and with the more projects I complete, the easier these challenges are to overcome.
BEST THING ABOUT YOUR ROLE?
The unique selling point of Neptune is that we’re a completely integrated business. We have a fabrication and manufacturing facility located in Fordoun which means we can undertake projects from conception through to delivery. To have this sort of experience in project management at such an early stage of my career has been a major positive for me and has really helped with getting to grips with various aspects of the industry.
I’ve also been lucky enough to experience a trip offshore which has aided my understanding of the bigger picture even further. To see aspects of our work being used for the purpose of their design is fantastic and will definitely stand me in good stead moving forward in my career.
BEST CAREER ADVICE?
In this industry, I quickly realised the need to be a good team player if you are to be successful in your role. With three periods of work experience throughout my university studies already completed before joining full-time, I was lucky enough to come into a team that I already knew fairly well. I’d advise anyone who is given the chance of work experience to really grab it with both hands; it has the potential to make a massive difference to your early career prospects.
At Neptune, there is a vast array of industry knowledge that I have been able to tap into and efficient communication is key to this. If good communication and a good team are both in place, it makes the process behind finding what are often complex solutions on behalf of your client that bit easier. Knowing how your team works and learning your role within it are essential.
WHAT’S YOUR DREAM?
The immediate goal is to complete my Monitored Professional Development Scheme (MPDS), which will lead to me gaining my chartered engineer status. This is often the logical next step for those who have already completed a masters and Neptune has been great in supporting me through this.
The long-term goal eventually is to be in a lead technical role within the industry. I think it is important to set long-term career goals and I have a clear vision that this is where I want to be within the next 15 to 20 years. It’s going to take a lot of hard work and learning to get there but with the right attitude and experience, I’m looking forward to continuing my development throughout the years ahead.